In 1986 I was two years into my career as a Deejay and when I say Deejay I don’t mean cutting, scratching, transforming, and all that mess, I mean setting up 8 to 16 speaker cabinets and shaking everything in a quarter mile radius. That was Deejaying in the Badlands of Miami (Dade County)- having the most bass, catching all of the breaks, and breaking all of the new records.
Since day one I’ve always been creative and original. When every Deejay in Miami was spinning Shy-D, 2 Live Crew, and Half Pint I took a chance and spun LL Cool J, MC Shan and yes, the Beastie Boys. At that time rappers really weren’t dropping full length albums, but rather dropping 12 inch singles with a b-side. Rock the Bells by Cool J and Project Hoe by Shan were instant hits. Dudes and chicks alike lost their minds when either cut was played, because both tracks were energetic and bass heavy. However, Slow and Low by the Beastie Boys almost got me killed! When I dropped that record and “Slow and Low/Let yourself go/Slow and Low/That’s the tempo” came blasting through the speakers, people were like, “Man, what the fuck is that? Man, if you don’t cut that shit off!” The said this despite the fact that everything, ground and houses included, was shaking because Slow and Low had some serious drop (bass). But more they said it because the Beastie Boys were white and the song had a wild-rock influence. I continued to play the record. I dropped it at every jam I played and before I knew it other Deejays were spinning it. So when Hold it Now was released some six months later, everybody was already feeling the Beastie Boys. I broke MCA, Mike D and AD-Rock in Miami. The album Licensed to Ill came out that November- it was the first hip-hop album to hit number one- and sold four million units in one year. RIP MCA…
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of something great. Not just for the Beastie Boys and the people at Def Jam, but also for me and everybody around me. I continued spinning up north cuts and putting out some of the best mixtapes in Miami. However, $5.00 a tape and $250 (split six ways) a jam was not enough to get that new Caddy on fifties and cuts. Nor was it enough to finance the moves that I wanted to make in the music world. I had dreams… ambitions… lofty expectations as to my place at the top of the hip-hop industry. I just didn’t have the money to get it.
Enter Scarface (The Geto Boys)… I started small time/dope game/cocaine… pushing rocks on the block/I’m never broke mane… I took to the dope game like a dope fiend to fish scales. And even though all of my reasons for getting involved with the dangers of drug dealing were industry related (trying to finance my dreams)- Deejaying, rapping and all that soon took a back seat to the streets. I was getting big money and the rap-niggas were looking up to me. Reasoning being, most rap-niggas were broke back then, 85, 86, 87 and so forth, dope boys were setting the standard for what a real nigga looked, acted and sounded like. When you saw a rap-cat back than in a Benz, Caddy or big boy Bronco; jewelry’d all up and popping that G-shit; it was his man’s shit he was whipping, his man’s ice he was wearing, and the shit he’d heard his big homie saying. Truth be told, most rap-niggas first studio time and first records were financed with dope money… but that’s a whole other story I’m not going to get into- for obvious reasons.
I saw less of the studio… more of the streets… streets in different cities and states. I heard more music… saw more of my life influencing the music. Schooly D (the very first gangsta rapper), Too Short, Spice One, NWA, Kool G Rap, The Geto Boys, Poison Clan, Bust Down, Ice T and Above the Law were lyrically and rhythmically expressing the ills of my everyday life through their music. That I was really feeling. And dudes everywhere I went were also feeling it, because everybody was playing it in their cities and states. it’s like we were all going through the same shit and the music reflected it… the quintessential case-in-point of art mirroring life.
Pause. Fast Forward… Play? Disc not reading… Something happened between the 1994 release of Tupac’s “Me Against the World” and the 2000 release of Nelly’s “Country Grammar”… or perhaps it may have been between Dr. Dre’s 1993 release of “The Chronic” and the 1998 release of Outkast’s “Aquemini”… Notorious Big’s “Ready to Die” and Juvenile’s “400 Degrees”- all platinum classics- but somewhere along these lines, somehow, the parallels polarized. Life began to mirror the art… I’ll explain more in my next session…
Check out Plex’s books at www.badlandpub.com and also the chapter on The Boobie Boys in Street Legends Vol. 2